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Evaluating Erosion Control Blankets Made with Waste Wool in SE Idaho

Project #: 4W7373
Start Date: 08/08/2018
End Date: 11/30/2021

This project sought to determine whether erosion control blankets (ECBs) using wool instead of coir (coconut fibers) on two different roadside cut slope restoration projects in southern Idaho increased seeded native species establishment in cheatgrass dominated sites. By the second growing season, results for some wool ECBs showed great promise in supporting native perennial grass establishment and growth. Unfortunately, after three growing seasons, the study results were inconclusive due, in large part, to a drought during the final growing season in 2021. An analysis of the wool in the ECBs describes their ability to provide significant amounts of nitrogen (N) for plant growth for three growing seasons as the wool decomposes. A cost benefit analysis demonstrates that, depending on the amount of wool used in the ECB, it may be less expensive to use wool ECBs than to fertilize and cover with traditional coir ECBs in non-weedy nitrogen poor cut slopes.

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